N a p a l m   H e a l t h   S p a :   R e p o r t   2 0 1 3 :   S p e c i a l   E d i t i o n

L o n g   P o e m   M a s t e r p i e c e s   o f   t h e   P o s t b e a t s





William Seaton



The Metaphysics of Everyday Life (excerpt)


Our food is the rhetoric of the kitchen and thus it must be closely attended,

for the aromas sent into the air will circulate the globe.

On the shelf, ready to hand, is coriander, which is a sharp reminder and a red fox darting

in the woods unseen.

Though it’s years since I've found a taker for my time, serpents gobble nonetheless,  

leaving hardly the room to sit.

On the shelf, ready to hand, is cumin which links one chain of benevolent bonds and

 makes way for others, and with this weapon some may choose to strike the foe.

Though the hammer pounds its message in the morning, I hear only later, and especially

                 in ruined night, and that's why I live in the city.

And the cleverness of bay lies in being stronger than it seems.

Though a hundred resonances of unearthly beauty assault me, they change, change to

Gilgamesh gods like flies in a swarm, and I take the warning to stay back, and thus possibilities swoon and are gone.

And the fenugreek seems never to have grown but rather like high mountain rocks it

                  shores things up by resting above.

And the typewriter is my friend, though its keys will not stay clean.

On the shelf, the fennel, airy gesture of uncertainty, and the inside of a balloon,

And the typewriter conceives new torments and each replacement is party to the plot,

(Once it stuck on each line's center pole, resisting my every idea, but tired quick of that

                 device, a mere mechanical stumble.)

                              *               *               *               *               *

I carry my household gods from place to place and put their images on the walls to

                  contain me, still horizons.

And the line will, despite horizons, propagate itself in any direction and look to its rights.

                              *               *                *               *               *

And our names carry mystic meanings and if they are forever unread they will squirm at

our back and alarm the unready.

For instance, the S, a bundle of preparation, but the true meat is momentary in striking.

And I look to Latin America in the morning hours and cry but as yet there is no echo.

For instance, the E, which tries to swallow whatever comes close and has learnt many

                  grammars of the pounce.

And my mind turns like a hinge to Morocco's tattered cap which fit me well.

For instance, the F, which stands poised and elegant till the neighboring letters reach out

                  in love.

And that time was the lapsing of sorrow in immediate need and it could have gone on

forever –– and isn't it the same on the listener's shore?

For instance, the P has volume like a pear and is glad.

And Abdullah in the Gout de Fes brought pipes and water while his father padded about

                  in pointed shoes shining the leaves of their plants and tending the thousand-year-

                  old carp.

For instance, the B has volume like the P and its pleasure is almost too great.

                              *               *                *               *               *

And the proof is open, for the water from my tap has flowed about the city in a great

                  spiritual network tended by countless counselors to the imagination, and thus the

                  thirst is satisfied.

And the proof is open, for once I had a car which scratched beneath my skin, and since I

could not fling it off, it dropped like rotten fruit.

And the proof is open, for while the wind rattles the windows, wine and marijuana warm

the belly.

                              *               *               *               *               *

Let it be known for the good of all creatures –– there is a straight line that connects points

                  mysterious in themselves, and that is the minor secret.

And let it be known for the good of all creatures –– there is a straight line that curves

around corners and intrudes into the morning coffee to enrich that addiction and make it useful.

And that line may also appear as a plane to clarify weeks and months into one texture and

                  their color is all the same seen hereafter as the plane from the side resembles the


And the line has countless other rites and beauties, like the sheen on Praxilla's cucumber

                  or a Salvation Army boot forlorn among the dishes.

And that is the major secret’s start, the whole of which would run us the risk of bloody

                  noses, and besides my mouth can't stretch to say its name.




[Used by permission of the author.]



William Seaton is the author of Spoor of Desire: Selected Poems (FootHills Publishing), Tourist Snapshots (CC Marimbo), and Cold Water (Monkey’s Press). His Dada Poetry: An Introduction has just been published by Nirala. Seaton’s poetry, reviews, translations, and essays have recently appeared in Poetry Flash, Chiron Review, Adirondack Review, Gander Press Review, Burp, and Maintenant. He directs the Poetry on the Loose Reading/Performance Series, is co-founder and president of the Northeast Poetry Center and maintains a blog of literary and familiar essays and other work.